Problem Solvers by Design

Home & Housewares 2011

I'm used to seeing beautiful designs when I go to tradeshows — attending the big furniture fairs is a crash course in the contemporary aesthetic and high end, cutting edge loveliness. Home & Housewares is the more practical side of the coin; for the most part it's about things that have to perform well, not just look pretty. But that doesn't mean that both design needs can't be met…

Here are five items that I spotted at the show. They were fun to come across since they are all both nicely designed and serious attempts at being a solid solution to common household issues.

1. Tapi by Dreamfarm- simply slip on to your faucet. The flow of water acts normally, until you squeeze the bottom of the rubber attachment, forcing the water to flow out and up the small hole at the top, creating a simple, but powerful home water fountain. A quick sip of water was never easier!

2. Index Plus by Joseph Joseph - this organizer holds 4 cutting boards and 4 color coordinated knives, allowing you to store and access your tools in a single spot, while keeping them separated by what you normally use them to prepare. Designed specifically for the user to maintain specific use boards and knives all in one compact space.

3. Membo by Dreamfarm - did your partner or housemate feed the dog? The fish? This magnetized (stick it on your fridge!) communicator allows you track pet feedings, daily chores or whatever you can come up with. It comes with a bunch of different inserts and in a rainbow of colors.

4. Ceramic Box Cutter by Slice - this ergonomically designed box cutter looks good, is ultra efficient and makes the job both safer and easier.

5. New Scooba from iRobot - the latest generation cleaning bot is designed to be ultra compact, allowing it to squeeze into the tight spots next to and even behind the toilet, allowing for an allover floor scrubbing to happen while you are at work...or at play.

Images: Janel Laban